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Jodie Harsh by Magnus Hastings

Jodie Harsh by Ben Charles Edwards

Jodie Harsh by Ben Charles Edwards

Jodie Harsh by Ben Charles Edwards

Profession DJ
Hometown London
Website http://www.jodieharsh.com/

Jodie Harsh has become one of London's most recognisable drag queens thanks to her massively popular clubnights like Club Room Service, as well as her rapier wit; and though her act has far less to do with drag than it does with music (her real passion), her's is an instantly identifiable image on the city's nightlife scene. Jodie tells us about her future plans and thoughts on gay London.

 

Jodie, you are one of London’s most popular entertainers at the moment. If you had to put a job title on what you do, what would it be?

First and foremost I would say I am a DJ - and a good one at that. I'd say I was in the music industry rather than the 'drag industry', if that exists! Music is my life. The fact that I wear wigs and make-up when I DJ or run a club night is really just another spoke on my wheel. I love the glamour and fun of dressing and that's what going out is all about. The fact that I combine the two together is my USP, I guess!

You started with drag, but have segued into DJing, hosting club nights, and to some extent, the world of fashion - what is it that really gets you excited? How to you balance the ‘job’ aspect with what you’re passionate about?

Luckily I found a way to combine all of it together. My passions are music, make-up, fashion, clubbing, socialising and meeting new people, and doing business, and my job is a culmination of all of those things. I started off doing a degree in journalism when I moved to London, and I always have that to fall back on if all else fails. However, I reckon I've got a good few years left in the Harsh yet and a hell of a lot more to come after that as a DJ and producer.

You seem to have really nailed the Jodie Harsh image now – is there room for growth and change, or do you worry that people have come to expect a certain ‘look’?

I like my look, I'm not sure that it's iconic yet but it is certainly instantly recognisable. I only wear my clothes once or twice so my fashion changes all the time. I get new wigs every six weeks so although they stick to a certain style, they always change in colour or in the finer details. I see no reason to change dramatically. Don't fix what's not broken...!

Most would think that being a drag is just about throwing on a dress and makeup. You've actually attended stage school and the London College of Fashion. Would you say that's a usual case among drag queens? How has that helped you?

It helped me no end. At LCF they encouraged us to go clubbing and to parties as often as possible so we'd meet important contacts and immerse ourselves in fashion. Stage School gave me confidence, developed my talent, and made me strive to be the best. We were always sent to auditions in our lunch breaks and I never seemed to get any parts, which helped me strive to do better every time. I have kept that within me through life, helping me grow and grow in my career. One down side to this is that I'll never feel I'm doing well enough at something even if it's going extremely well - I'm a perfectionist!

Members of the London Philharmonic worry about their instruments when they travel. How do you manage with your wig? Have you ever had a wig incident while travelling?

Thank god I have never lost my luggage on a connecting flight! I travel lots both in the UK and around Europe and America for DJ gigs. My wig has its own suitcase which sits inside my bigger suitcase, surrounded by shoes, make-up, CDs and so on. Always, for the entire flight, a voice at the back of my head keeps whispering 'what if the bag didn't make it onto the flight?' I hate flying as it is, so a transatlantic journeys can be a nightmare.

Your persona and image are deeply associated with London. Could you imagine living anywhere else?

I lived in New York for three months and I still visit a lot for both work and pleasure. I could definitely move back there permanently. Perhaps I will in a few years time. I love Barcelona too, and that's somewhere else I could get on. The boys are hotter there, too - I only really go for Spanish guys in romantic situations! But London really is my home and I love this city, it's in my soul. We are the most exciting city in the world when it comes to culture, art, music and fashion.

As a gay man, what is the best part about living in London?

The variety. One night you can be in run-down bar in Hoxton surrounded by fashionistas, the next in Vauxhall surrounded by 3,000 sexy muscle marys, the next sipping champagne in Soho’s Shadow Lounge.

What up-and-coming neighbourhoods in London should we be looking out for right now?

Dalston - there are a few great little hotspots popping up like the Dalston Superstore club. Lots of fun, and it's just five minutes on the bus from Shoreditch, not that I would take the bus personally.

Is there such a thing as a ‘London boy’?

Good dress-sense, good sense of humour, party loving, educated (on the whole), but ultimately, broke! This city is so expensive.

How has gay London changed over the past five years? How do you see it changing over the next five?

It was about five years ago that Vauxhall was tipped to be the new London gay village. Sure, there are still some clubs, bars and a scummy sauna there, but so many people have died from GHB overdoses in the clubs, and the use of that drug has put such a dampener on the area's social scene. It's very depressing.

What three things are always in your carry-on when you travel?

My iPod, my make-up and my passport. I'd be fucked without any of them.

What does the future hold for Jodie Harsh? Any un-ticked boxes on your to-do list?

You bet - a number one club anthem, my own night in Ibiza, a shoot with David Lachapelle, a make-up line, a book, Club Room Service to be a worldwide brand... big plans!

Learn more about Jodie on jodieharsh.com.